One day after sending out invites to press in the US for its iPhone event scheduled for September 10 in Cupertino, Apple has just sent invites to Chinese media outlets inviting press to a special event in Beijing on September 11. Attached to the invite (above) is the same image and tagline hinting at iPhones in various colors that Apple included on the invites for its US event. Not only will it be the first time Apple hosts such an event in China, it is also a good indication that China Mobile, the world’s largest telecom, could soon finally announce a deal with Apple to bring the iPhone to its approximately 700M subscribers.
Last month China Mobile’s chairman said the company was still working out “commercial and technical issues” with Apple but that “good progress was made in preparing for the commercialization of TD-LTE.” Following that report, the often reliable KGI analyst Mingchi Kuo said that Apple was ramping up TDD-LTE supported iPhone models earlier than expected. The new low-cost iPhone, alongside a higher-end next-gen iPhone on China Mobile could help Apple add some significant numbers to its shipments heading into the new year. Kuo said the new devices on China Mobile could possibly account for penetration of 25% and 35% in iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C shipments with around 1.5-2.5M units. That prediction is for Q3 alone, as Kuo expects even more units to ship as we move into China’s October Golden Holiday and Q4.
On September 10, Apple is expected to launch a new ‘iPhone 5S’ as a full-fledged upgrade to its current iPhone 5 that we reported will include a fingerprint reader, 128GB storage option, and a new gold color option. While that gold color option could help Apple move units to the high-end market in China and India where the color is popular, it’s also expected to debut a brand-new lower-cost iPhone (5C?) that analysts expect will sell for somewhere between $300 – $500. We’ll have to wait for official word from Apple to find out what will happen to its current lineup of iPhones, but it’s likely the company will keep the current iPhone 5, or possibly the iPhone 4S, around as a entry level model largely aimed at the enterprise market like the iPad 2.
Apple’s event in Beijing, China is set to kick off on Sept 11 at 10:00 AM local time (CST), but with the time difference the US and Beijing events will be only hours apart.